Shoto style Karate was founded by Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) in Tokyo in 1938. Funakoshi is considered to be the founder of modern karate. Funakoshi Sensei Born in 1868 Yamakawa-cho district at Okinawa. He began to study karate at the age of 11, and was a student of the two greatest masters of the time, Azato and Itosu. He grew so proficient that he was initiated into all the major styles of karate in Okinawa at the time. For Master Funakoshi, the word karate eventually took on a deeper and broader meaning through the synthesis of these many methods, becoming karate-do, literally the "way of karate," or of the empty hand. Training in karate-do became an education for life itself. In 1921 Funakoshi first introduced Karate to Tokyo. In 1936, at nearly 70 years of age, he opened his own training hall. The dojo was called Shotokan after the pen name used by Funakoshi to sign poems written in his youth. Shotokan Karate is characterized by powerful linear techniques and deep strong stances.
The first public demonstration of karate in Japan was in 1917 by Gichin Funakoshi, at the Butoku-den in Kyoto this, and subsequent demonstrations, greatly impressed many Japanese, including the Crown-Prince Hirohito, who was very enthusiastic about the Okinawan art. In 1922, Dr. Jigoro Kano, president of the kodokan judo hall, Judo, invited Funakoshi to demonstrate at the famous Kodokan Dojo and to remain in Japan to teach karate. This sponsorship was instrumental in establishing a base for karate in Japan.
Master Nakayama Masatoshi (1913-1987) - Carrying On the Spirit and Tradition of Funakoshi Gichin's Work
Master Nakayama Masatoshi had martial arts in his blood. Born in April 1913 in Yamaguchi Prefecture, he was a descendant of the Sanada clan, in the Nagano region. His ancestors were highly-skilled instructors of kenjutsu (the art of swordsmanship).
Upon entering Takushoku University in 1932, Master Nakayama immediately joined the university’s karate club, studying under Master Funakoshi Gichin and one of the master’s sons, Funakoshi Yoshitaka. Deciding to devote his life to karate, he traveled to China after graduation for further study and training.
When he returned from China in May 1946, he got together with fellow Shotokan practitioners from his university days to revive the Shotokan karate tradition with Funakoshi Gichin as Supreme Master. Together, in 1949, they established the Japan Karate Association. In 1955 a head- quarters dojo was built at Yotsuya in Tokyo. It spurred the building of JKA branch dojo all across Japan.
The efforts of the Japan Karate Association to embody and promote the spirit of karate-do were highly regarded by the Ministry of Education (now Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture). In 1957, the Ministry granted the JKA exclusive legal recognition in Japan as an official association of members for the promotion of the way of karate.
During that time and over the next several years, Master Nakayama made immeasurable contributions to the art. He developed, together with his fellow JKA instructors, a new, rational method of teaching that was tailored to the level and goals of each student: karate as a physical development tool, karate as a method of self-defense, karate for matches, etc. He also emphasized the necessity for each aspect of training to be physically and kinesthetically practical, and he scientifically analyzed how to make them so.
Moreover, to ensure that the true essence of karate-do was being passed on correctly, he and his disciples established a two-year specialist instructor training program, which is still the only specialist instruction system in the world of karate. And the training never ends; the JKA is, and always has been, the only karate organization whose full-time instructors continue to get together every day for joint practice. Through this program, JKA instructors constantly endeavor to refine and perfect their karate.
Master Nakayama also invented karate’s first match system: the first ever JKA All Japan Karate Championship was held at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in October, 1957 and was attended by so many participants and spectators that the venue was filled to capacity.
His adaptation of kata and kumite for the match system was a huge success; the 5th JKA All Japan Karate Championship in 1961 was even attended by His Majesty the Crown Prince of Japan (now His Majesty the Emperor of Japan). Karate was growing increasingly popular throughout the world.
Master Nakayama valued the spiritual aspects of karate that his teacher Funakoshi Gichin espoused—especially the virtue of modesty and the spirit of harmony. He never tired of teaching, by his example more than his words, that to demonstrate these qualities requires not only a deep sense of propriety, but also a constant remembrance that “there is no first attack in karate.”
In actual practice, Master Nakayama insisted that each technique should demonstrate one’s powerful and wholehearted personal best. He also emphasized that it is crucial to study the inseparable trinity of karate—kihon, kata, and kumite—as one. And he continually reminded everyone to keep in mind that “the way of karate we pursue is a bare-handed martial art which we practice with an unwavering heart in a state of emptiness; it is a way of developing the personality.”
Master Nakayama passed away in 1987, at the age of 74.
He studied at the famous Takushoku University Karate club. He also had many competition successes, including becoming Grand Champion (Kata and Kumite) at the 5th ALL-Japan Championships. From this success he then went on to teach many hundreds of thousands of students throughout the world, becoming a hero of traditional Karate.
This traditional Karate was used as a foundation for his future developments. As Asai Sensei traveled the world he gained a wealth of experience from other country's fighting systems, allowing him to build on his foundations and create his own, unique style. He has endeavored to make his body as supple as a willow tree to maximize the efficiency of his style. However, to take his Karate to a higher level he has found it important to not only develops the torso, but also the head, arms and legs. From the development of each body part, his technique can spring forward like a "Thunderous Storm". By developing the torso, arms and legs separately, it's much more difficult for an opponent to see an attack coming. Combine this with Asai Sensei's lightning speed, and it makes for a deadly combination.
This special training has allowed Asai Sensei to increase his strength to levels that some people would think of as super-human. However, these techniques are separate from Shotokan-Ryu, they are Asai-style Karate. Therefore, from this point onwards we would like the reader to put aside all their pre-conceptions of what Karate is. Only by doing this can you learn Asai Sensei's Karate.
Asai Sensei has spent almost his whole life searching for "The Way". His Karate path has been likened to a “Thunderous Storm". He says "People should forget everything and jump head first into what they want to do. Although, the average person can't comprehend such a way of thinking, or to be in such an environment, it this type of environment, however, that is most essential for one's success." "
Asai Sensei was born in 1935 in Ehime, Shikoku prefecture, Japan. He would later become famous throughout the world of Karate. His father was a policeman, and Asai Sensei is the oldest son in the family. Being raised in the countryside, Asai Sensei grew up to become a very strong, fast and energetic young man. As a young boy he often practiced Sumo, sometimes competing in the traditional five man challenge, and winning every time.
From his father he learned Judo, Kendo and the Spear. Even at this young age his athletic ability was easily recognized. After being thrown Asai sensei would always land on his feet.
A pivotal point in his life came when he was 12 years old. One day he saw a boxer fighting a Karate-ka, in a real fist fight. Not so important as to who could win such a match, however, what was forever instilled in Asai Sensei's mind was the Karate-ka's kick that disabled his opponent from further attacking him. Thus the image of Karate being strong was implanted in his mind. This event happened just after the end of the Second World War at a time when the Japanese community was uncertain about their future. People didn't know what was right anymore. Fighting and theft were common events within that society. Asai Sensei wanted to be both physically and mentally strong. So he started Karate.
The next turning point in his life came one day when walking to school along with a friend. As they walked near the school, they both noticed a man in a Dogi (Karate suit), practicing Karate. Silently, Asai Sensei was amazed by this man's strength. He also thought to himself that this person appeared stronger than him! As that thought was going through his mind, his friend made the following comment: "Ah, he is from the Fighting University Karate Club. The Takushoku Karate Club". From that moment on, all what Asai Sensei could think of was how to enter Takushoku University in order to train on their Karate team. Asai Sensei decided to study very hard in order to pass the entrance examination for Takushoku University. Despite hating to study, 6 months later, Asai Sensei passed the entrance exam and was able enter Takushoku
Takushoku also highlighted Asai Sensei's great determination. Most people can't sustain such a path. 150 people started with Asai Sensei at the Karate club, but within a month it had been reduced to a handful. There was no happiness in the dojo, or at the university at large, just training, but Asai Sensei persevered and soon he was allowed to live at the Karate dormitory. It was a great honor to be allowed to live there, and all of the world leaders of shotokan came from there. Asai Sensei, despite the hardship, was happy as he had a chance to become really strong, and others were amazed by him, claiming the only time he never trained was when he ate or slept.
Asai Sensei graduated in 1958, and Nakayama Sensei insisted he must continue his Karate. In fact, in a joking manner, Nakayama Sensei told him that he couldn't do anything but Karate! So he entered the Kenshusei program (instructor's course). It was the golden age of the JKA, with many strong and different characters. He could train with these people daily and it cemented his decision to follow the Karate way throughout his life. This hard training paid diligence and in 1961, in front of the crowned prince, Asai sensei became grand champion (Kata and kumite) , beating the favorites, Mikami sensei and Shirai sensei.
He also traveled the world extensively, bringing his own brand of Karate to hundreds of thousands of people. Finally, he returned to Japan to become the technical director of the JKA.
In the year 2000 Asai Sensei created the Non-Profit Organization Japan Karate Shoto-federation, as a way to further the development of Karate. His focus is on spirit development and not just technique development. He strongly believes in developing one's spirits as a way to kindness and respect towards other people. In addition, he has created wheelchair Karate as method for introducing Karate to all people regardless of any disabilities they may have. He believes through that this Community Service, Spirit-Development will the same for everyone and not only the physically talented or physically fit.
Sadly, after a life dedicated to karate, Asai Sensei passed away in the year 2006. It is with great sadness that I mourn the passing of yet another one of my instructors and a true inspiration. Tetsuhiko Asai passed away at 2:50 pm on August 15, 2006.
Shotojuku India begin in India in the year 1999,. Before Ishikawa Shihan came to India, our past begins in the year 1978 or few before. We first started karate training under Sensei Bonnie Rober's BBKI-Shotokan. . In the year 1999 Sensei Bonnie Roberts introduced Shihan Ishikawa and we invite for training. BBKI Shotokan is renamed as “Shotojuku India”, when Ishikawa Shihan visited first time to India. We seemed real Japanese karate through Shihan Ishikawa in first time. We felt into Shihan's skills. In the year 2000 Sensei Sudeep T. Cyriac invited to Japan by Shihan for higher training. At that time Asai Shihan Shihan estableshed Japan Karate Shotokai(JKS)in the year 2000. Ishikawa Shihan introduce to Sensei Sudeep T. Cyriac to Shusaiki Shihan Asai in Japan 2000. In the year 2002 Shotojuku India joined JKS by the help of Ishikawa Shihan.
Shotojuku India delegates made ten Japan visits for proper training and understanding after its formation in the year 1999. In each time the leaders of JKS Shotojuku India trained in Shotojuku Headquarter at Chiba, Japan. And JKS Shotojuku India countuct 10 national camps by Shihan Ishikawa. The experts of Shotojuku India participated National and International Championships, and won in many events. In the year 2004 Diganta Konwar achieved Bronze Medal in USA International Championships. He again won Silver Medal in 2006 Germany International Championship. In the year 2007 Sinesh M.M. and Diganta, the best experts of Shotojuku India Participated in JKS World Karate Championships at Okinawa, Japan and make a good performance. In the year 2011 the New generation Bhaskar Sonowal Got silver in Kothen Kata at Scotland JKS World Championship. In the Year 2013 Our National Representative Sensei Sudeep Got Bronze in Kata at World Championship, Tokyo, Japan